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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Christina Pomoni,

nappropriate advances at workplace are not taken seriously. Yet, when they occur, it is a difficult situation to overcome at workplace.

Sometimes, inappropriate advances at workplace are not taken seriously. Jokes about sex, sexual comments and touching, all are considered inappropriate. However, people do not report it immediately to a supervisor believing it is not what they think it is. Also, studies estimate that 70% of female employees may have experienced sexual harassment, men can also be victims. In our society, inappropriate advances do not necessarily imply a man towards a woman. In fact, the more female managers advance beyond the glass ceiling, the more they become guilty of inappropriate behavior in the office. Regardless though, if the originator is a male or a female boss, it is definitely a difficult feat to overcome at workplace.

In order to identify inappropriate advances from your boss, you have first to know the meaning of sexual harassment at workplace. If you are harassed by your boss with any type of sexual advances, which are used against your employment, then you are definitely harassed. There are cases of employees, who were “advised” by their bosses not to reveal the harassment at the expense of keeping their job.

Here are some things you should consider in order to deal with inappropriate advances from your boss:

1/ Report it
If you find yourself in a situation like this, you should definitely report it. You may fear that you gonna lose your job and it makes sense to fear that. There is a possibility that if come out and say that your boss is sexually harassing you, the company will dismiss you rather than your boss. But, even if your boss apologizes for inappropriate behavior, still you would have to put up with the person that harassed you. So, in any case, it may be better for you to leave this company or this department, although you have suffered sexual harassment. Nevertheless, sexual harassment at work should immediately be reported to human resources. Most organizations have policies on sexual harassment and hate lawsuits about sexual harassment. This is your chance to win your case against your boss without losing your job.

2/ Keep documentation
Keeping documentation is extremely important. Keep records of inappropriate meetings, phone calls and emails that produce sexually explicit material or even threats that may have been made. Even keeping a diary of what is going on is helpful. If you report sexual harassment, you would have the appropriate documentation to prove your case.

3/ Get transferred to another department
Not the best solution, however it is an alternative. People in the new department would know why you have been transferred. Although being sexually harassed is not your fault, still people have the benefit of doubt on who has started the case. It could have been you with light gestures and cute smiles, which then turned into a nightmare when your boss decided to act on them. On the other hand, being transferred to another environment is your only alternative to keep your job and avoid the person who harassed you. But bear in mind that shadow organization works perfectly in these cases and office gossip will not give you too much credit.

4/ Do not be ashamed
If you are sexually harassed do not be ashamed. Stand up and talk about it. Think about how detrimental sexual harassment is for you, both emotionally and mentally, but also for the company that loses time, money, and productivity, let alone its reputation may be damaged.
Nevertheless, sexual harassment is a serious charge; in fact, it is a crime. Society should not be tolerant against inappropriate advances at workplace and you are legally entitled to work without being harassed, verbally or physically. Therefore, regardless of potential setbacks, it is a good idea to deal with the issue head on and address it appropriately.


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